Breaking news: Handheld LIBS provides field capability to acquire low‐cost geochemical analyses in real time.
A just-released publication in Minerals, in special issue Novel Methods and Applications for Mineral Exploration, the authors demonstrate how LIBS is ideally suited for field exploration programs that would benefit from rapid chemical analysis under ambient environmental conditions. A review of previously published research and new results show how LIBS can be applied to qualitative element detection for geochemical fingerprinting, sample classification, and discrimination, as well as quantitative geochemical analysis, rock characterization by grain size analysis, and in situ geochemical imaging.
The cover image shows laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) data acquired on an unprepared half drill core sample of a gold‐ and base-metal‐rich quartz vein from the MacLellan deposit, Lynn Lake, Manitoba. LIBS results for key elements were processed and are displayed as relative wavelength intensities. Each mineral phase present within the mapping area can be identified based on its LIBS spectral signature and some prior knowledge of the main mineral‐forming elements.
Russell S. Harmon, Christopher J.M. Lawley, Jordan Watts, Cassady L. Harraden, Andrew M. Somers, and Richard R. Hark
First Published November 20, 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Methods and Applications for Mineral Exploration)
The mineral exploration industry requires new methods and tools to address the challenges of declining mineral reserves and increasing discovery costs. Laser‐induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) represents an emerging geochemical tool for mineral exploration that can provide rapid, in situ, compositional analysis and high‐resolution imaging in both laboratory and field and settings. We demonstrate through a review of previously published research and our new results how LIBS can be applied to qualitative element detection for geochemical fingerprinting, sample classification, and discrimination, as well as quantitative geochemical analysis, rock characterization by grain size analysis, and in situ geochemical imaging. LIBS can detect elements with low atomic number (i.e., light elements), some of which are important pathfinder elements for mineral exploration and/or are classified as critical commodities for emerging green technologies. LIBS data can be acquired in situ, facilitating the interpretation of geochemical data in a mineralogical context, which is important for unraveling the complex geological history of most ore systems. LIBS technology is available as a handheld analyzer, thus providing a field capability to acquire low‐cost geochemical analyses in real time. As a consequence, LIBS has wide potential to be utilized in mineral exploration, prospect evaluation, and deposit exploitation quality control. LIBS is ideally suited for field exploration programs that would benefit from rapid chemical analysis under ambient environmental conditions.
Keywords Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, LIBS, geochemical exploration, geochemical fingerprinting, micro-imaging, grain size analysis, mineral texture
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Minerals (ISSN 2075-163X) is an international open access journal that covers the broad field of mineralogy, economic mineral resources, mineral exploration, innovative mining techniques and advances in mineral processing. It publishes reviews, regular research papers and short notes. The aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical results in as much detail as possible.
Why SciAps LIBS for mineral exploration?
The SciAps Z features the most advanced LIBS technology of any handheld. The Z utilizes the most powerful laser, operating at 5-6 mJ/pulse, up to 50 Hz rep rate, Class 3B 1064nm wavelength. The spectrometer range of 190 nm out to 950 nm delivers full periodic table coverage. The patented OPTi-purgeTM integrated argon gas purge (optional) yields better limits of detection for many elements compared to air-based analysis. Internal 3D stage raster the laser allowing for surgical analysis of inclusions or veins if desired, all easily viewed through the integrated camera and laser targeting. No X-rays means no travel restrictions or licensing headaches.
There are now dozens of SciAps Z-300 analyzers being used globally for geochemical exploration projects. Discover in-field analysis of Li, Be, B, C, Na, F; lithium in hard rocks and brines; and high sensitivity to other major elements Mg, Si, Al, Ca, K.
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We can run samples in our materials laboratory, or visit you with an analyzer for a brief feasibility study.Contact Us
Check out our Academic LIBS Advancement Program
We frequently loan out HH LIBS units for a few weeks or a month to academic researchers, so that they can perform a study or field analysis. LIBS is often a preferred technique, especially for students, since operators do not have to deal with the regulatory complexities of X-ray fluorescence analyzers. SciAps Z-300 will measure every element in the periodic table – yes even hydrogen! And our accompanying Profile Builder software provides operators complete freedom to modify laser and spectrometer parameters and generate their own calibrations. You’re not limited to factory-imposed calibrations or unchangeable multi-variant techniques.
How does it work?
Easy. Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief description of what you want to measure. As your work progresses, we’d appreciate continued updates. Don’t worry, we understand that you can’t compromise a future publication. We’ll get you the analyzer, train you at a regularly scheduled time (often via GoTo Meeting or Skype but in-person works too). The goal is to raise awareness of the amazing world of applications available to handheld LIBS.
Please note at this time we must limit the loaner program to researchers working at U.S. and Canadian institutions. However, researchers from these countries may travel globally with the analyzer.
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